Pathogens listed Critical by World Health Organization found in River Yamuna

The World Health Organization, 2017 had published its first list of antibiotic resistant priority pathogens that pose the greatest threat to human lives. These critical group and certain multi-drug resistant bacteria are found in River Yamuna according to a group of researchers from IIT Delhi.


The study conducted by the researchers says that sewage is the main source of their entry into the river. The researcher team studies 20 major sewer drains of the river over two seasons at five major locations of Delhi.

The researchers found Beta-lactamases-Enzymes that help bacteria stay resistant to commonly used antibiotics.

About the Study

The study says that poor sewage collection and lack of sewage treatment plants and lack of connectivity between the drain are the main reasons for the deadly bacteria to develop in the river. There is a need for adequate infrastructure for sewage management in the region.

Currently, the existing treatment plants work on organic pollutants such as nitrogen, carbon and phosphorous. However, there is an emerging need to upgrade the sewage treatment plants in the country.

The study says that the resistance genes present in the river were β-lactamases genes and carbapenemadse. There are possibilities for rapid proliferation of different antibiotic resistant genes through horizontal gene transfer.

WHO list of “Priority Pathogens”

The list was published by World Health Organization in 2017. The list contains antibiotic resistant pathogens for which drugs are urgently needed. The list particularly highlights the Gram-negative bacteria that are resistant to multiple antibiotics.

The list is divided into three categories such as high, medium and critical priority.

The mist critical group include multi drug resistant bacteria such as Pseudomonas, Acinetobacter and other Enterobacteriaceae such as E.coli, Klebsiella, Serratia and Proteus.

The second and third tiers in the list are of medium and high priority categories respectively. They cause common diseases such as food poisoning, gonorrhoea.